World Cup organizers have admitted that the deadline for completing two of the five stadia being built for the 2010 finals in South Africa is now “very, very tight”.
Plans to hold the Confederations Cup at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth a year before the World Cup may have to be abandoned because of a delay in constructing the stadium.
Organizers insist there is no threat to the World Cup taking place but admit there are also concerns about building work on the Green Point stadium in Cape Town.
“The guarantees we gave FIFA are being satisfied and we are very proud that one stadium, Soccer City in Soweto, will be delivered five months ahead of schedule,” Tim Modise, communications director of the 2010 organizing committee, told PA SportsTicker.
“Things are on course generally but with two stadiums the timelines are very, very tight. The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium has been earmarked for the Confederations Cup in 2009 so that makes it even tighter and in the next two months we will decide whether it can be used for that tournament or not.”
Almost half a million vistors are expected to travel to South Africa for the finals, but crime remains one of the big disincentives for many travellers however, and Moeketsi Mosola, chief executive of South African Tourism, acknowledged that some fans might be put off.
“We are working with all the authorities to ensure safety – and if we are sure our people are safe then the visitors will be safer,” he said.
“The number of police in uniform will rise from 140,000 to 190,000 in the next three years to have a more visible presence.”